Category: israel

Who is next for the Zionists putsch?

By Daniel Margrain

Image result for ken livingstone resigns pics

It is a sad indictment on modern politics that the long-standing socialist, Ken Livingstone who fought most of his political life fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of racism has been hung out to dry by a political party he had been a member of for decades. Had Livingston not formerly offered his resignation, almost certainly he would have gone the way of another veteran anti-racist activist, Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled ostensibly for ‘anti-Semitism’ but more accurately for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

It could be reasonably argued that on the latter grounds, Wadsworth’s suspension was justified given that he had inappropriately targeted a Labour MP during a press launch showcasing an important report. But then this begs the question why it is the case that some of the 80 Labour Friends of Israel members who have links to Mossad agents and have attempted to subvert UK domestic politics in order to favour a foreign power, have not been expelled for what are obviously far more serious offences?

Wadsworth’s ‘affront’ to the party hierarchy was, not that he should have pursued a more suitable avenue in which to attack his target, but that the said target was former British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) employee and Israel lobbyist, Ruth Smeeth MP. Any hope that Wadsworth would receive a fair hearing was dashed the moment his Israel lobby critics unjustly accused him of anti-Semitism.

Fifty right-wing and pro-Israel parliamentarians proceeded to demand the political lynching of Wadsworth at his hearing. Had he not voluntarily resigned, a similar show trial scenario predicated on yet more spurious anti-Semitism charges would almost certainly have been used as a justification to drive Livingstone out of the party. The long-standing anti-racist campaigner’s ‘crime’ in the eyes of his critics, is his interpretation of a specific event in history that runs counter to the elite pro-Israel political narrative.

So why hasn’t Corbyn come to Livingstone’s defense?

It appears that Corbyn and his strategists have made the political calculation that continuing to appease a hard core of neoliberal war-mongers both within the party and in the corporate media is preferable to taking a principled stand – presumably on the basis that the anti-Zionist left would eventually win their critics over through rational debate.

But such hopes appear fanciful. Nothing Corbyn says or does will, for example, satisfy political commentators and arch Livingstone and Corbyn critics like Nick Cohen, John Rentoul or Dan Hodges.

The latter disdainfully wrote the following on his twitter feed in response to the news that Livingstone had resigned:

“I think if Jeremy Corbyn ever wins an election Ken Livingstone will be welcomed back.”

In other words, for Hodges, Corbyn can do nothing right no matter how accommodating to his critics he is or how many concessions he makes – even to the extent that many MPs from his own party would rather back the Conservative government position than support the leader of their own party. One of the most prominent of these, John Mann MP, initially set Ken Livingstone up on fake charges and then blamed Corbyn for not expelling him, claiming the Labour leader turned a blind eye to anti-Semitism.

However, the establishment by the Labour leader of the Chakrabarti report is evidence that Corbyn in less than three years has done far more than his political adversaries have managed in decades. One of Corbyn’s key critics, Ed Miliband, when he led the party failed to introduce any extra measures to deal with complaints of anti-Semitism, but paradoxically has joined in the chorus of criticisms against Corbyn’s apparent inability to tackle the problem.

Anti-Semitism, as with all forms of racism, is a societal problem and therefore is bound to exist within political institutions that form part of the said society. The crucial question then, is not that anti-Semitism exists in a party comprising hundreds of thousands of members, but rather whether the problem is endemic and/or disproportionate compared to other political parties and wider UK society as a whole.

The aspiration to stamp the problem out completely is worthy but unrealistic. Yet this is what Corbyn’s critics uniquely task him with. The implication is that anti-Semitism is more prevalent within the Labour Party compared to other political parties in the UK. However, this does not stand up to scrutiny as doesn’t the claim that it is more prevalent compared to other forms of racism in UK society more widely A survey by Pew, for example, found that 7% of the UK public held “unfavourable” views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavourably.

Moral panic

In response to a moral panic about ‘left anti-Semitism’ seemingly rife within the Labour Party, a loosely-knit group of Jewish Labour supporters, Free Speech on Israel, met for an inaugural gathering in April, 2016. The 15 member group, which included Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics, Jonathan Rosenhead, found that over their lifetimes they could muster only a handful of anti-Semitic experiences between them. And, crucially, although in aggregate they had hundreds of years of Labour Party membership, not a single one of them had ever experienced an incident of anti-Semitism in the party.

These experiences would appear to tally with the findings of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. Despite filming undercover for 6 months at political meetings in an attempt to discredit Corbyn, the programme-makers could not find a single incidence of anti-Semitism among party activists.

As one independent commentator put it, the mainstream media anti-Semitism furor “is not about anti-Semitism; but removing a person who does not support Zionism from a position of influence.”

The Blairite Friends of Israel have succeeded in removing Marc Wadsworth from the party. Using ‘anti-Semitism’ as their political weapon, their latest casualty is the influential Ken Livingstone. If the fifth columnists responsible for the coordinated attacks against Israel’s critics are not compulsorily de-selected from the party, then such attacks, under the guise of anti-Semitism, will continue unabated.

As Tony Greenstein put it:

“Ken Livingstone’s resignation will embolden the Zionists to go for new victims, of whom Jackie Walker will be the next target. And after that Chris Williamson MP and anyone else who sticks their head above the parapet in order to denounce the world’s only apartheid state.”

The Zionists will not be happy until their top target – key Palestinian supporter, Jeremy Corbyn – is removed from power.

A version of this article originally appeared on Renegade Inc.

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“Antisemitism”, JLM & Free Speech: The Issues That Won’t Go Away

By Daniel Margrain

On the surface Jeremy Corbyn’s rally leading up to the Labour Party conference and his closing leadership speech in Brighton were both resounding successes. But there is a long-standing issue that many activists argue need to be addressed by the Labour leadership, namely, the continued false accusations of “antisemitism” instigated by the Zionist lobby within the party, of which Corbyn’s new found indifference to the plight of Palestinians is symptomatic. The first time Corbyn seemingly capitulated to the Zionist lobby occurred when he failed to publicly challenge the staged and contrived attacks on Ken Livingstone by Labour’s principal Zionist henchman, John Mann.

“Antisemitism”

The misnamed, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), is the main driving force behind a proposed rule-change agenda to redefine “hate speech” as a means of nullifying all criticism of the Zionist state of Israel, and is predicated on the flawed non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The IHRA definition states:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish
community institutions and religious facilities.”

With the inclusion of the phrase “physical manifestations”, which might encompass criticism of Israel and Zionism, the definition is essentially meaningless.

Nevertheless, the JLM unwittingly appear not to have realized that the IHRA definition above is a vast improvement on the long and convoluted 500 word ‘antisemitic anti-Zionism’ European Union Monitoring Centre (EUMC) definition authored by attorney Kenneth Stern that preceded it.

Brian Klug, an Oxford academic who specialises in the study of antisemitism, manages it in 21 words:

“Antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are.”

This seems to be a perfectly adequate definition. But preventing genuine cases of antisemitism is not the objective of the Zionist propaganda organisation, the JLM. Evidence uncovered by the Al-Jazeera news network, revealed that through the use of journalists and right-wing Labour MPs, their real purpose is to undermine and/or subvert a Corbyn-led Labour government by using the spectre of antisemitism as a weapon with which to achieve it.

A genuine left-wing UK party is seen as undermining what Zionists regard as the very real threat to their Eretz (Greater) Yisrael project of a territory stretching from the River Nile to the River Euphrates. The JLM is affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization – the latter of which pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.

Misnomer

As I inferred in a previous article, the JLM is a misnomer and is more accurately described as a Zionist movement whose aim is to proselytise for Israel. The overriding requirement for membership is an adherence to the movements’ Zionist aims which pertains to the belief that Israeli Jews have the right to settle on land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in addition to that captured following the Six-Day War in 1967.

The contradictory nature of the organisation is highlighted by its membership criteria which excludes potential Jewish members on the basis of their lack of Zionist credentials. So we are left with the absurd situation in which Jewish members can be excluded from an ostensibly Jewish organisation. The anti-Zionist activist, Jackie Walker, although Jewish, is not permitted to join the organisation, for example. However, non-Jewish Zionists are welcomed with open arms.

This is the context in which Mike Sivier pointed out, correctly, that the proposed Labour Party rule change incorporating the IHRA definition supposedly to combat hate speech and racism is “not about antisemitism; but removing a person from the party who does not support Zionism from a position of influence.”

Moral panic

In response to a moral panic about “antisemitic anti-Zionism” seemingly spreading throughout the Labour Party membership, a loosely-knit group of Jewish Labour Party supporters called Free Speech on Israel gathered for an inaugural meeting in April, 2016. The fifteen-member group, which included Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics, Jonathan Rosenhead, concluded that over their lifetimes they could muster only a handful of antisemitic experiences between them. And, crucially, although in aggregate they had hundreds of years of Labour Party membership, not a single one of them had ever experienced an incident of antisemitism in the party.

These experiences would appear to tally with the findings of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. Despite filming undercover for six months at political meetings in an attempt to discredit Corbyn, the programme-makers could not find a single incidence of antisemitism among party activists.

CHAC report

In October, 2016, the Commons Home Affairs Committee (CHAC) commissioned a report ostensibly into antisemitism which all reasonable observers acknowledged was another biased political weapon with which to attack the Labour leadership.

In a Facebook post, Jeremy Corbyn commented on the report:

“Although the Committee heard evidence that 75 per cent of antisemitic incidents come from far right sources, and the report states there is no reliable evidence to suggest antisemitism is greater in Labour than other parties, much of the report focuses on the Labour Party.

The Committee heard evidence from too narrow a pool of opinion, and its then-chair rejected both [Labour peer and barrister] Shami Chakrabarti’s and the Jewish Labour Movement’s requests to appear and give evidence before it. Not a single woman was called to give oral evidence in public, and the report violates natural justice by criticising individuals without giving them a right to be heard.”

Corbyn continued:

“The report unfairly criticises Shami Chakrabarti for not being sufficiently independent. This fails to acknowledge public statements that the offer to appoint Chakrabarti to the House of Lords came after completion of her report, and was based on her extensive legal and campaigning experience. Commissioning Chakrabarti was an unprecedented step for a political party, demonstrating Labour’s commitment to fight against antisemitism.”

Farce

At a fringe meeting at the Brighton conference, absurdity turned into complete farce when Miko Peled, the renowned Jewish Israeli anti-Zionist activist, became the latest target of the JLMs antisemitism allegations after it was claimed he said that discussion of the Holocaust ought to be allowed, even if that meant embracing denialism or revisionism. However, activist, Tony Greenstein who was at the meeting said the claims attributed to Peled and others were a fabrication.

This led former UK diplomat Craig Murray to conclude that the “antisemtic Corbynites” meme printed in the pages of the tabloid press was Fake News. The perpetuation of this fake narrative has been reproduced consistently throughout the media that has led to the wildest of claims. During an interview on the BBC Radio 4s Moral Maze programme, for example, former representative of the Zionist Federation and current Director of Communications for the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Jonathan Sacerdoti, claimed that Jews were being driven “in fear of their lives from Britain to Israel.”

Hyperbole

With this kind of highly exaggerated hyperbole, Sacerdoti appears to be confusing Britain’s multicultural, secular and pluralistic liberal democracy, albeit flawed, with the inherently racist, Zionist entity headed by an Israeli Prime Minister who sees himself as the leader of the whole of the Jewish world. Clearly, it hadn’t occurred to either Sacerdoti or Netanyahu that Jews born in Britain are British, just like their Black or Asian counterparts. They are not Israeli. Therefore, Zionists can make no legitimate claim to lead or control the Jewish diaspora. To suggest otherwise is to replicate the false racist and sectarian-based trope that Zionists and Jews are synonymous, and therefore to criticise Israel is “antisemitic.”

Of course, this serves a dual political purpose. With Israel’s Jewish population decreasing in proportion to their Palestinian counterparts, the fear of antisemitic attacks against the Jewish diaspora increases the potential for Jews to emigrate to Israel, while justifying increasing levels of funding to Jewish “charities” and organisations like the highly politicised Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and the JLM, whose interests are best served by playing up the antisemitism “threat.”

Self-determination

The narrative of Jews being threatened outwith Israel in which the so-called Jewish State is perceived as a safe haven, perpetuates the racist myth that self-determination can only be adjudged based exclusively on one specific ethnicity and religion.

The JLMs own website states:

“The [object of the] Jewish Labour Movement [is]…to maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel.”

The notion that passport-holding Jews born in countries like France, the US and the UK have any less of a right to self-determination than other groups with citizenship rights born in these countries, perpetuates the myth that Jews can only be safe from the threat of violence when resident in Israel, exclusively among other Jews. This, in turn, reinforces another corresponding racist myth, namely, that the concept of multi-ethnic and secular democratic liberalism is antithetical to “Jewish interests” and that coexistence with other groups is problematical.

Netanyahu outwardly expressed this kind of Jewish-Zionist conflated racist exceptionalism and exclusivity for ideological and political reasons after he attempted to shift the blame for the Holocaust from the Hitler fascists onto the Grand Mufti. From the Zionist perspective, this makes sense given that Muslims are considered to be the joint enemy of both the European far-right and their Zionist allies.

Banned

Attempts by Labour activists to challenge the curtailment of free speech by raising the issues above is the reason why those critical of Israel’s apartheid state and treatment of the Palestinians, have been banned or suspended from the party under the pretext of “antisemitism”. This was the rationale that led to the decision of Finchley and Golders Green CLP last month to reject my application for membership of the party, ostensibly based on a blog article I wrote in which it is claimed I used “Zionist” as a term of abuse – the story of which made it onto the pages of The Jewish Chronicle.

Given that Zionism is indeed an exclusivist, supremacist and racist ideology deserving of abuse, I stand “guilty” as charged. The systematic smears and attacks by Zionists against the right to freedom of speech which challenge the Zionist narrative is the kind of policy Corbyn appears happy to endorse. Indeed, the Labour leader’s close association with the JLM at conference in which he was photographed with some of their leading figures, was a kick in the teeth for the family of Labour Friends of Palestine activist, Del Singh, who died in a Taliban attack in Kabul in 2014. Tony Greenstein on twitter, exclaimed:

“Its outrageous  should hang his head in shame-its like honoring Paul Golding of  with the Jo Cox award – really sick.”

Corbyn’s repugnant rallying behind the JLM that followed his effective rubber-stamping of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, appears to be indicative of the lack of control he has within his own party. Despite all of the sound rhetoric during his 75 minute closing speech in which the Labour leader focused on the importance of unity, putting people before profit, abolishing tuition fees, rent controls, affordable housing and work-place democracy, the party continues to be dominated by right-wing Zionist forces.

There are few signs at present that he intends to confront the situation. Instead, he seems content appeasing various hypocritical and back-stabbing leading party figures like Tom Watson, Joan Ryan and Jess Phillips, who have either openly said in the past they are opposed to his policies or have abused him. Many people, including millions of Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians would not consider it spiteful of Corbyn to take a firm grip on the party and get rid of the traitors within his midst. On the contrary, they would regard it as a small step towards justice.

Compulsory deselection

Compulsory deselection is the obvious way forward. But to date, Corbyn has suffered from an inability to influence constituency Labour party policy at the local level, where the full-time paid staff are institutionalised. They see in Corbyn, somebody who is a potential threat to the status quo. The General Secretary, Iain McNicol, represents the apex of this kind of tendency towards self-preservation which explains why during the last election campaign, Skawkbox was able to allege that:

“Almost no resources were made available for the fight to win Tory-held marginals or even to defend Labour-held ones. Party officials and national executive right-wingers either assumed that Labour could not win seats or deliberately sought a bad result to undermine Corbyn.”

Of the 260+ parliamentary Labour MPs, roughly 60 hold genuine left-wing views, while a similar amount tread the ground between the left and right. The vast majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) – roughly 140 – however, are right-wing disciples of the Chicago school who are unprincipled cynical opportunists or, as Tony Benn put it, “weathervanes”. They will only go with the Corbyn programme if it looks good for their money-making prospects.

Battle

This illustrates the battle Corbyn and his supporters are up against. If Corbyn ends up being too accommodating to the right-wing of the party it will only encourage them, resulting in the blunting of his radical message which is the major part of his appeal and the very reason why Labour voters, especially the young, voted for him in such large numbers in the first place.

Keeping young voters on board is particularly important given that the proposed boundary changes the Tories will be keen to bring in before the next election will benefit them by 18 seats. This will provide the ideal opportunity for Corbyn to force through the compulsory resubmission of candidates to members who are energised by a very different set of priorities to that of the right-wing within the party. If Corbyn proves brave enough to seize the moment by taking control of the party he currently lacks, all of those people who are motivated primarily by money, will disappear by stealth into the ether.

The right-wingers are currently on the defensive and Corbyn might be advised to exploit this situation to the maximum. There were some encouraging signs during the fringe meetings at Brighton which would seem to suggest that sufficient movement within the grass roots will force Corbyn’s hand. Indeed this “stealth tactic” is one the Labour leader might be relying on and that there is sufficient movement happening behind the scenes that this writer is unaware of.

The emergence of the seemingly radical anti-Zionist JVL organisation have made in clear they will not tolerate anymore of the false antisemitic allegations made against Labour members by the JLM, and certainly the tide does appear to be turning against right-wing Zionist forces in the party. The worse case scenario is one in which these right wing elements wrestle back significant control. With hardcore Zionists like Watson and others remaining in positions of prominence and influence, will only encourage this latter eventuality.

The contradictions among the right within the party that the left has exposed, highlight the extent to which the ideological consensus between the New Labour hierarchy and the ruling Tory establishment, is structurally embedded within a dysfunctional system of state power that is no longer fit for purpose. Corbyn’s task in changing this situation around is difficult but not impossible. Perhaps he is biding his time in terms of deciding when to act decisively. Will he wait until after the next General Election? There are potentially exciting times ahead.

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What Shai Masot & Richard Brooks reveal about UK-Israel relations

By Daniel Margrain

Al-Jazeera’s initial undercover investigation into the links between Mossad agents, the UK political class and activists designed to subvert British domestic politics in order to favour a foreign power, did not come a surprise to this writer. During this initial investigation, Israeli operative, Shai Masot, revealed that the Israeli government intends to spend £1m on an all expenses Israeli trip for Labour MPs where they will be wined and dined in return for political favours.

Al-Jazeera followed up this expose with their revelation that senior National Union of Students official, Richard Brooks, conspired to oust the organisation’s president Malia Bouattia as part of a sting involving the Israeli embassy. As I highlight below, these two cases represent the tip of a large iceberg of deceit and corruption at the heart of the British political system.

The joint underhand activities of the Israeli secret service and their collaborators within the Blairite Labour Friends of Israel rump of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and related activists was evident the moment Jeremy Corbyn became elected leader of the party.

Gould & Wallis-Simons

Matthew Gould and Jake Wallis-Simons are two relatively recent examples of what appears to be British-born Jewish Zionists conforming to tropes that involve the prioritizing of Israel, above the interests of the British state. The former was the first Jewish-Zionist to have been appointed as Britain’s ambassador to Israel. Gould, who along with Minister of Defence, Liam Fox and his businessman friend, Adam Werritty, through undisclosed meetings, seemed intent on ensuring that Britain would be drawn into a war with Iran, ostensibly on Israel’s behalf. Gould’s openly Zionist leanings implied a serious conflict of interest issue.

The latter example, the Daily Mail’s Jake Wallis-Simons, who has been at the forefront of a sustained and coordinated media witch-hunt as part of a coup attempt against pro-Palestinian Jeremy Corbyn while simultaneously labeling anybody who supports Corbyn’s position as an “antisemite,” stated he would support Israel if Britain and the Jewish state were hypothetically to go to war. Needless to say that if a British-Muslim had proffered support for any one of Britain’s official enemies, the security forces would have almost certainly detained him/her under terrorism legislation and the corporate media would have plastered the story over its front pages.

Imagine too, what the reaction of the British state would have been if Russian diplomats had acted in a way that subverted UK democracy. Almost certainly, mass Russian expulsions would have ensued, the media would have deemed it an act of war and the story would have been at the forefront of news bulletins for weeks on end. However, unlike the relationship with Russia, British state collusion with Mossad goes right to the top of British establishment, as evidenced by the fact that Masot’s role was covered up.

As former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray posits: “Plainly the official Israeli Embassy explanation that he [Shai Masot] was a “junior member of staff” is a lie. The Israeli Embassy is not given visas for ‘junior members of staff’ except in very specific job categories which Masot plainly does not meet. It is a lie in which the FCO must have been absolutely complicit in organising his immigration residency status in the UK”.

Following the money

Clearly, the severity of the media’s attacks on Corbyn and their under-reporting of the roles played by both Masot and Brooks in subverting British domestic politics, can be explained by the close political and financial relationship that exists between the PLP, the British establishment and the Israeli state. The pro-Israel lobby, who have a significant financial stake in the Labour party and whose influence spreads throughout the British political establishment more generally, clearly see pro-Palestinian Corbyn as an anathema to their wider interests viz a viz Israel. Certainly the Hasbara propaganda web site, UK Media Watch, regard the witch-hunt against Corbyn, as well as the attempts by his detractors to disorientate the membership, as ‘a job well done’.

Blogger Mira Bar-Hillel proffers an extremely lucid and revealing account of the extent to which the Zionist pro-Israel lobby have managed to inculcate their propaganda within the wider UK political and corporate media with the intention of subverting the democratic process and thereby undermining Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership with a view to his eventual toppling.

The media attacks on Corbyn and his supporters within the party began to reach stratospheric levels following the appointment of the ultra-Zionist Mark Regev to the role of Israeli ambassador to the UK with the openly anti-Corbyn figure John Mann who hounded Ken Livingston, operating as the Zionists principal henchman.

Specter of antisemitism

The cynical attempts of right-wing Zionist elements within the hierarchy of the Labour Party to drive a wedge between traditionalists and Blairites, using the specter of antisemitism as their ideological weapon, is an obvious smokescreen as a basis in which to discredit all legitimate support for the Palestinians by influential or prominent figures both inside and outside the Labour Party. The deliberate misrepresentation of the views of Craig Murray by Zionists at the forefront of the anti-Corbyn campaign, is an example of this.

Journalist Asa Winstanley  outlines the links between right-wing, anti-Corbyn Labour and the pro- Israel lobby within the party. He meticulously shows how this lobby manufactured an “antisemitism crisis”, pinpointing the individuals involved, the tactics and dirty tricks used and the connections to powerful individuals whose ties lead to pro-Israel groups both in London and Israel.

Winstanley also shows how media outlets such as the Telegraph, Huffington Post and the Jewish Chronicle have been complicit in the systematic attempt to disorientate Labour party members and supporters by either printing misinformation or reproducing unsubstantiated accusations and smears against individuals which has contributed to a false media narrative.

Among those who instigated the antisemitism row are David Klemperer who opposed Corbyn’s run for the labour leadership (but has since been kicked out of the party), former Israel lobby intern, Alex Chalmers, and former chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Jeremy Newmark, now the chairperson of the Labour party-affiliated, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM is also affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization. According to the UN, the latter pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.

According to Winstanley, no mainstream journalists “have disclosed Newmark’s long-standing role in the Israel lobby, or his record of lying about anti-Semitism.” Clearly Newmark’s mission in rooting out ‘left antisemitism’ cannot be disentangled from his wider role as sympathizer and propagandist for the Zionist-Israel cause.

Antisemitic incidences

The intention of the lobby is to create the impression that antisemitism is not only more prevalent within the Labour party compared with other political parties but that it’s also more widespread compared to other forms of racism in UK society. Neither claim stands up to scrutiny. A 2015 survey by Pew found that seven percent of the UK public held ‘unfavourable’ views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavourably.

In the aftermath of the massacres in Gaza in 2014, the London Metropolitan police recorded 358 anti-Semitic offences. Two hundred and seventy three of these were online, 36 involved criminal damage and 38 constituted “harassment”. Eleven cases of assault were recorded in which four resulted in personal injury. One hundred and eighty thousand offences in these categories were recorded within the wider population throughout Metropolitan London. In other words, attacks against Jews in 2014 against a backdrop in which Gaza was being pulverized, made up only one in 500 of the total, while they made up around one in 86 of the population of London as a whole.

Community Security Trust (CST) figures for the first six months of last year show a rise of 15 per cent above those from the previous year. But this is from an extremely low base. The actual number of such incidents recorded for the first half of 2016 was 557. And that figure is still below that for 2014 when the Israeli assault on Gaza occurred. So claims that there has been a ‘surge’ in antisemitic incidences in recent years are false and misleading.

Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that antisemitic views are any more prevalent in the Labour party which historically has been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns. On the contrary, racism and fascism is more likely to be symptomatic of far-right politics then left-wing politics. Take Zionism as an example. Far-right political parties court the Zionist vote because Zionism is a far-right and racist ideology.

Sectarianism

Smearing activists with the antisemitic epithet for arguing in favour of boycotting Israel is another tactic adopted by the Zionists. According to.pro-Israeli propagandist and former representative of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Sacerdoti, Jews regard boycotts against Israel to not only be intimidating but are also perceived to be an illustration of “antisemitism disguised as criticism of Israel which are driving Jews in fear of their lives from Britain to Israel.”

With such highly exaggerated sectarian-based nonsense, Sacerdoti appears to be confusing Britain’s multicultural, secular and pluralistic liberal democracy with the inherently racist, Zionist entity headed by a Israeli PM who also sees himself as the leader of the whole of the Jewish world.

The implication of Sacerdoti’s racist sectarian-based argument is that Zionists and Jews are synonymous, and therefore to attack Israel is “antisemitism”. Netanyahu outwardly expressed this racism when he attempted to shift the blame for the Holocaust from Hitler on to the Grand Mufti. From the perspective of Zionism this makes sense given that Muslims are the joint enemy of both the European far-right and their Zionist allies.

Conclusion

Politically, the purpose of the misuse of antisemitism by Zionists is to quash all legitimate criticisms of Israel, its oppression of the Palestinian people and, by extension, Muslim/Arab nationalist aspirations more generally. The media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingston and others are political and represent a determined effort by the Israel lobby to make Britain’s Labour Party ‘a safe pair of hands’ for Israel and Zionism.

All of this underlines the pernicious influence that Israel has in the political class, which is founded on the Israeli lobby’s shameless use of cash for influence – as witnessed in the discussion between Shai Masot and Labour Friends of Israel and his flaunting of a million. The contrived ‘antisemitism crisis’ within the party that this kind of behaviour is a reflection, is outflanked by the far greater problems it has with modern day Zionist aspirations which are never addressed.

Israel’s ‘friends’ within the PLP, for example, continue to remain silent about the illegal ongoing dispossession of Palestinians from their land and the historical Zionist programme of ethnic cleansing of which Plan Dalet, the Koenig PlanOperation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge are historical manifestations.

Ultimately, the real target of the Zionists is not antisemitism, but the prospect of a Corbyn-led UK Labour Government, which the Zionists view as a very real threat to their Eretz (Greater) Yisrael project of a territory stretching from the River Nile to the River Euphrates.

 

 

 

 

What the Jackie Walker debacle is really all about

By Daniel Margrain

In an excellent piece published by the Electronic Intifada (April 28, 2016), journalist Asa Winstanley shows how media outlets such as the Telegraph, Huffington Post and the Jewish Chronicle have been complicit in the systematic attempt to disorientate Labour Party members and supporters by either printing misleading misinformation or reproducing unsubstantiated accusations and smears against individuals all of which have contributed to a false media narrative regarding alleged antisemitism within the party.

Also in the piece, Winstanley outlines the links between right-wing, anti-Corbyn Labour and the pro- Israel lobby and meticulously shows how this lobby manufactured an ‘antisemitism crisis’, pinpointing the individuals involved, the tactics and dirty tricks used and the connections to individuals whose ties lead to pro-Israel groups both in London and Israel. Among the individuals Winstanley highlights are David Klemperer who opposed Corbyn’s run for the labour leadership (but has since been kicked out of the party), and former Israel lobby intern, Alex Chalmers.

Jewish Labour Movement

Arguably the most significant and influential figure behind the false claims of antisemitism that Winstanley cited in his piece, is former chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Jeremy Newmark. It was while in charge of the JLC that Newmark gave evidence at a 2013 Employment Tribunal case alleging antisemitic behaviour by the University and College Union brought by one of its members. The case was dismissed by the judge in its entirety.

Newmark is currently chairperson of the Labour party-affiliated, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM is also affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization. According to the UN, the latter pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division. Clearly Newmark’s mission in rooting out ‘left antisemitism’ cannot be disentangled from his wider role as sympathizer and propagandist for the Zionist-Israel cause. Winstanley contends that no mainstream journalists “have disclosed Newmark’s long-standing role in the Israel lobby, or his record of lying about antisemitism.”

Pernicious

One particularly pernicious and unfounded antisemitism accusation during the last few weeks has involved long-standing, and until recently, reinstated Labour party member, Jackie Walker, who as the result of comments made at a private antisemitism training session on September 26, was removed from her role as Vice-Chair of Momentum prompting the Labour Party hierarchy to renew her suspension from the party.

Walker stands accused of four things: a) trivializing Holocaust Memorial Day, b) claiming that the threats of attacks on Jewish schools had been exaggerated, c) claiming she saw no need for definitions of antisemitism and d) commenting on the Jewish role in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Although Walker was factually incorrect about the first point by claiming HMD only commemorated the Jewish Holocaust, it’s nevertheless true that the commemoration is one in which the Jewish narrative dominates. “My aim”, Walker said, “was to argue that there are no hierarchies of genocide; there is no way to quantify or qualitatively describe the indescribable, the indescribably inhumane acts that are part of our histories”.

In relation to the second point, it would appear that antisemitic attacks on Jewish schools have indeed been exaggerated (see below). In terms of point three, Walker didn’t claim she saw no need for definitions of antisemitism, as was claimed. What she actually said was “I still haven’t heard a definition of antisemitism that I can work with”. The context of Walker’s intervention is important: A few minutes before a (Jewish) attendee at the session asked the training session tutor, Mike Katz, of the Jewish Labour Movement, “We don’t know what you’re working from. Do you think you can give us what your definition of AS is?”

Katz replied, “The standard definition of antisemitism is actually the European Union Monitoring Centre.” It was at this point, that several other members objected to the use of the EUMC definition claiming it had no status and was deeply flawed. Walker was objecting to a deeply flawed 500 word ‘new antisemitism’ or even ‘antisemitic anti-zionism’ definition authored by attorney Kenneth Stern, that is so wide in scope as to encompass political criticisms of Israel.

The reason why it is so difficult for some people to disentangle antisemitism from legitimate criticisms of Zionism as a political ideology, is because the EUMC definition often cited by those who use it as a political weapon in order to blunt all criticism of illegal Israeli land grabs, is far too long and convoluted. Brian Klug, an Oxford academic who specializes in the study of antisemitism manages it in 21 words: “Antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are”. Klug’s far more reasonable definition is almost certainly something Walker, and many other anti-Zionists, would be willing to work with.

The fourth reason why Zionists targeted Jackie Walker was because she had the temerity to admit that some of her Jewish ancestors were involved in the sugar and slave trade in the Caribbean and West Indies. Her position was misrepresented in the Zionist Jewish Chronicle who ran with the sensationalist headlineLabour suspends Momentum supporter who claimed Jews caused ‘an African holocaust’. On the basis of this egregious lie, the campaign against Jackie Walker, a dedicated and long standing anti-racist activist, began. Walker says:

My claim, as opposed to those made for me by the Jewish Chronicle, has never been that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic Slave Trade, merely that, as historians such as Arnold Wiznitzer noted, at a certain economic point, in specific regions where my ancestors lived, Jews played a dominant role as financiers of the sugar industry, as brokers and exporters of sugar, and as suppliers of Negro slaves on credit, accepting payment of capital and interest in sugar.”

Zionist Labour Movement? 

It’s clear that the treatment meted out to Walker by the the JLM, is indicative of a movement that does not represents Jews, rather, it represents Zionists. The JLM, in other words, is a misnomer and would more accurately described as a Zionist Labour Movement. Jackie Walker, although Jewish, is not a Zionist and is therefore not welcome in the organisation. However, non-Jewish Zionists are. The organisation’s own website states:

“The Jewish Labour Movement is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation of the UK, and organise within the World Zionist Organisation… Our objects: To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel.”

The furor surrounding Jackie Walker, as Mike Sivier states, “is not about anti-Semitism; but removing a person who does not support Zionism from a position of influence.”

Antisemitic incidences

The attacks on Walker (as well as many others in which similar accusations of antisemitism have been invoked), appear to be emblematic of a much bigger problem that goes to the heart of UK-Israel relations. On the surface, the implication appears to be that antisemitism is more prevalent within the Labour Party compared with other political parties in Britain. However, the notion that incidences of antisemitism are more widespread in a party which historically has been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns, does not stand up to scrutiny.

How about the claim that antisemitism is more prevalent compared to other forms of racism in British society? Again, the answer is a negative. A 2015 survey by Pew for example, found that seven percent of the UK public held “unfavourable” views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavourably.

In the aftermath of the massacres in Gaza in 2014, the London Metropolitan police recorded 358 anti-Semitic offences. Two hundred and seventy three of these were online, 36 involved criminal damage and 38 constituted “harassment”. Eleven cases of assault were recorded in which four resulted in personal injury. One hundred and eighty thousand offences in these categories were recorded within the wider population throughout Metropolitan London. In other words, attacks against Jews in 2014 against a backdrop in which Gaza was being pulverized, made up only one in 500 of the total, while they made up around one in 86 of the population of London as a whole.

Community Security Trust (CST) figures for the first six months of this year show a rise of 15 per cent above those from the previous year. But this is from an extremely low base. The actual number of such incidents recorded for the first half of 2016 was 557. And that figure is still below that for 2014 when the Israeli assault on Gaza occurred. So claims that there has been a ‘surge’ in antisemitic incidences in recent years are false and misleading.

Moral panic

In response to a moral panic about ‘left antisemitism’ seemingly expanding without limit, a loosely-knit group of Jewish Labour Party supporters called Free Speech on Israel coalesced for an inaugural gathering in April. The fifteen-member group, which included Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics, Jonathan Rosenhead, found that over their lifetimes they could muster only a handful of antisemitic experiences between them. And, crucially, although in aggregate they had hundreds of years of Labour Party membership, not a single one of them had ever experienced an incident of antisemitism in the party.

These experiences would appear to tally with the findings of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. Despite filming undercover for six months at political meetings in an attempt to discredit Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the programme-makers could not find a single incidence of antisemitism among party activists. Nevertheless on the BBC Radio 4s Moral Maze programme, former representative of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Sacerdoti – whose current job title is Director of Communications for the Campaign Against Antisemitism –  claimed that  Jews are being driven “in fear of their lives from Britain to Israel.”

Hyperbole

With this kind of highly exaggerated hyperbole, Sacerdoti appears to be confusing Britain’s multicultural, secular and pluralistic liberal democracy with the inherently racist, Zionist entity headed by a Prime Minister who sees himself as the leader of the whole of the Jewish world.  Clearly, it hadn’t occurred to either Sacerdoti or Netanyahu that Jews born in Britain are British, just like their Black or Asian counterparts. They are not Israeli. Therefore, Zionists can make no legitimate claim to lead or control the Jewish diaspora. To suggest otherwise is to replicate the false racist and sectarian-based meme that Zionists and Jews are synonymous, and therefore to attack Israel is “antisemitic.”

Netanyahu outwardly expressed this Jewish-Zionist conflated racism when he attempted to shift the blame for the Holocaust from Hitler on to the Grand Mufti. From the Zionist perspective, this makes sense given that Muslims are the joint enemy of both the European far-right and their Zionist allies.

The politics of ‘antisemitism’

The notion that British cities are rife with antisemitism, in which boycotts of Israel are regarded as emblematic, is a rationalization that serves a political purpose. Currently, the non-Jewish population of Israel stands at about a quarter of the total and the proportion is growing. The Zionists need to halt the demographic shift and the way to do that is to invent, provoke or exaggerate, in the UK and elsewhere, instances of the “new antisemitism.”

Zionism is threatened from within, so Israel needs a new influx of Jews in order for the Jewish state to survive in its current form. Indeed, antisemitism is the flesh and blood that Zionism and all related industries and institutions connected to it feed off in order for them to be able to continue justifying both their and Israel’s existence. The implied racism inherent in the notion that there is a correlation between Zionism and Judaism, is offensive to the silent majority of Jews who want nothing to do with the supremacist, racist state.

The UK government is losing the moral high ground by seeking to quash anti-Israel boycotts and prevent legitimate political activism more generally. Ultimately, it has to be a legitimate course of action in a democracy for a group of people to be able to pass a resolution condemning a country because they are opposed to its political values. The cynical attempts of right-wing Zionist elements within the hierarchy of the Labour Party to drive a wedge between traditionalists and Blairites, using the specter of antisemitism as their ideological weapon, is an obvious smokescreen as a basis in which to discredit all legitimate support for the Palestinians by influential or prominent figures both inside and outside the Labour Party. The deliberate misrepresentation of the views of Craig Murray by Zionists at the forefront of the anti-Corbyn campaign, is an example of this.

Israel lobby & the CHAC report

The appointment of the ultra-Zionist Mark Regev to the role of Israeli ambassador to the UK, arguably set in motion the failed Corbyn coup attempt in which the openly hostile anti-Corbyn figure John Mann, initially operated as the Zionists principal henchman. It was therefore unsurprising that Mann and the JLM, among others, praised the Commons Home Affairs Committee (CHAC) report ostensibly into antisemitism published a few days ago which all reasonable observers perceive as nothing other than a biased political weapon with which to attack Corbyn’s leadership.

In a Facebook post, Jeremy Corbyn commented on the report:

“Although the Committee heard evidence that 75 per cent of antisemitic incidents come from far right sources, and the report states there is no reliable evidence to suggest antisemitism is greater in Labour than other parties, much of the report focuses on the Labour Party.”

“The Committee heard evidence from too narrow a pool of opinion, and its then-chair rejected both Chakrabarti’s and the Jewish Labour Movement’s requests to appear and give evidence before it. Not a single woman was called to give oral evidence in public, and the report violates natural justice by criticising individuals without giving them a right to be heard.”

“The report unfairly criticises Shami Chakrabarti for not being sufficiently independent. This fails to acknowledge public statements that the offer to appoint Chakrabarti to the House of Lords came after completion of her report, and was based on her extensive legal and campaigning experience.

“Commissioning Chakrabarti was an unprecedented step for a political party, demonstrating Labour’s commitment to fight against antisemitism.”

The pro-Israel lobby, who have a significant financial stake in the Labour Party and whose influence spreads throughout the British political establishment more generally, clearly see Pro-Palestinian Corbyn as an anathema to their wider interests viz a viz Israel. Certainly the Hasbara propaganda web site, UK Media Watch, regard the witch-hunt against Corbyn, as well as the attempts by his detractors to disorientate the membership, as ‘a job well done’.

Conclusion

Politically, the purpose of the misuse of antisemitism by Zionists is to quash all legitimate criticisms of Israel, its oppression of the Palestinian people and, by extension, Muslim/Arab nationalist aspirations more generally. The attacks on Jackie Walker and others are political and represent a determined effort by the Israel lobby to make Britain’s Labour Party safe for Israel and Zionism. Ultimately, the contrived ‘antisemitism crisis’ within the party is outflanked by the far greater problems it has with modern day Zionist aspirations which are never addressed.

Israel’s ‘friends’ within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), for example, continue to remain silent about the illegal ongoing dispossession of Palestinians from their land and the historical Zionist programme of ethnic cleansing of which Plan Dalet, the Koenig PlanOperation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge are historical manifestations. Ultimately, the real target of the Zionists is not Jackie Walker, but the prospect of a Corbyn-led UK Labour Government, which the Zionists view as a very real threat to their Eretz (Greater) Yisrael project of a territory stretching from the River Nile to the River Euphrates.

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The Real Syria Story

By Daniel Margrain

Image

Roth, and by extension Human Rights Watch, further discredits whatever vestiges of impartiality he and HRW might have had with inane tweets such as “Douma market killings show how Assad chooses to fight this war: deliberately against civilians,” (@KenRoth, Aug 16), an obviously biased, and utterly unsubstantiated allegation. Roth could have absolutely no knowledge of either the identities of the dead, or the Syrian government’s motives, when he released the tweet the same day as the attack. He reveals himself here to be little more than a lackey for imperialism, a war hawk masquerading as a human rights defender.” [citation from: The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?]

Hand in Hand for Syria:

The UK Charity Commission’s website states that Hand in Hand for Syria exists for “the advancement of health or saving lives”.  Until July 2014 the Facebook banner of Hand in Hand’s co-founder and chairman Faddy Sahloul read “WE WILL BRING ASSAD TO JUSTICE; NO MATTER WHAT LIVES IT TAKES, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CATASTROPHE IT MAKES”.  The image was removed shortly after it was commented on publicly. Also on Hand in Hand’s executive team is Dr Rola Hallam, one of the two medics featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.

On 30 August 2013, the day after the BBC’s initial report on the alleged Aleppo incendiary bomb attack, Dr Hallam appeared on BBC’s Newsnight programme expressing her profound disappointment at parliament’s rejection of a military strike against Syria. Dr Hallam’s father is Dr. Mousa al-Kurdi.  According to a 2013 article by Dr Saleyha Ahsan – the other Hand in Hand for Syria volunteer medic featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ – Dr al-Kurdi is “involved politically with the Syrian National Council”.” [citation from: UK Charity Which Shares Syrian Opposition “Aims and Objectives” Benefits from Alan Kurdi Tragedy]

“The Syria Campaign”:

The Syria Campaign, begun in spring 2014, is managed by Anna Nolan, who grew up in northern Ireland and has very likely never been to Syria. In addition to promoting the White Helmets,  Syria Campaign promotes a new social media campaign called “Planet Syria”. It features emotional pleas for the world to take notice of Syria in another thinly veiled effort pushing for foreign intervention and war. According to their website, The Syria Campaign received start-up funding from the foundation of Ayman Asfari, a billionaire who made his money in the oil and gas services industry. …One of their first efforts was to work to prevent publicity and information about the Syrian Presidential Election of June 2014.

Accordingly, “The Syria Campaign” pressured Facebook to remove advertisements or publicity about the Syrian election.  Since then Syria Campaign has engineered huge media exposure and mythology about their baby, the “White Helmets” using all sorts of social and traditional media. The campaigns are largely fact free. For example, the Syrian election was dismissed out of hand by them and John Kerry but taken seriously by many millions of Syrians.” [citation from: Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

White Helmets/”Syrian Civil Defence

This organization is highly publicized as civilian rescue workers in Syria but in reality is a project created by the UK and USA. Training of civilians in Turkey has been overseen by former British military officer and current contractor, James Le Mesurier. Promotion of the programme is done by “The Syria Campaign”supported by the foundation of billionaire Ayman Asfari. The White Helmets is clearly a public relations project…who work in areas of Aleppo and Idlib controlled by Nusra (al-Qaida). White Helmets primary function is propaganda. Their role is to demonize the Assad government and encourages direct foreign intervention.

A White Helmet leader wrote a Washington Post editorial and are also very active on social media with presence on Twitter, Facebook etc.  According to their website, contact to the group is made by email through The Syria Campaign which underscores the relationship. [citations from: About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in SyriaSeven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]. Also see: Who are the White Helmets and what is their role in Syria?

Mayday Rescue 

At the present time Mayday’s sole responsibility appears to be management of the ‘Syrian Civil Defense’ or White Helmets, a supposed first responder organisation staffed by ordinary Syrians, which are in fact an extension of the terrorist groups in Aleppo and Idlib. Their function is to cooperate with the Aleppo Media Center (AMC) in the production of material which shows the White Helmets both as heroes and legitimate authorities on the Syrian conflict on the ground, and the Syrian and Russian governments as war criminals, deliberately targeting hospitals, schools, bakeries, animal shelters etc.

To that end, Mayday is generously funded by the UK, US and other governments, with offices in Amsterdam, Turkey, Jordan and Dubai. As at March 2016 its operational headquarters in Istanbul employs 30 staff, located in the operational centres of Istanbul, South-East Turkey, and has an annual operating budget of US$35,000,000.

Founder James le Mesurier, according to Mayday, “has spent 20 years working in fragile states as a United Nations staff member, a consultant for private companies and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and as a British Army Officer…Since 2012, James has been working on the Syria crisis where he started the Syrian White Helmets programme in March 2013. In 2014, he founded Mayday Rescue.” (Citation: Barbara McKenzie).

Incostrat

Incostrat was founded by Paul Tilley, who has a similar background to le Mesurier, with experience of both the army and the Foreign Office. His CV on LinkedIn reveals the following:

“2011-12 Director of Strategic Communication (STRATCOM) in the Ministry of Defence for the Middle East and North Africa.
2012-current. Developed and Project managed several multi-million dollar media and communications projects that are at the leading edge of UK and US foreign and security policy objectives in the Middle East.”

Both Incostrat and Mayday Rescue were formally founded in November 2014, according to the LinkedIn profiles of their respective founders, but le Mesurier and Tilley were doing development work 2013 or earlier. The White Helmets first officially appeared on the scene in April 2014, when the BBC assisted in the launching of the brand by producing a documentary on ‘Civil Defence’ in Aleppo, which coincided with the White Helmets appearance on social media.

Incostrat is described by Thierry Meyssen as “a communications company in the service of the jihadist groups. It designed logos, made video clips by portable telephone, and printed brochures for a hundred of these groups, thus giving the impression of a popular uprising against the Republic.”

Meyssen continues:

“Together with the SAS, [Incostrat] made a spectacle of the most important group, Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam). Saudi Arabia supplied the tanks which were delivered from Jordan. Uniforms were made in Spain and distributed to the jihadists for an officer promotion ceremony. All this was choreographed and filmed by professionals in order to give the impression that the army was organised like regular forces and was capable of rivaling with the Syrian Arab Army. The idea was planted that this really was a civil war, and yet the images only showed a few hundred extras, most of whom were foreigners.”(Citation: Barbara McKenzie).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

Founded in 2011, SOHR is a UK-based organisation that provides information on the Syrian conflicts to the world’s media. The “Observatory” is run from a terraced house in Coventry, England by Rami Abdulrahman, a three-term convicted criminal in Syria who left that country more than 10 years before the war started, and is openly opposed to the Syrian government.

The Observatory is almost certainly the brainchild of the Foreign Office:

“His funding comes from the European Union and “an unnamed European state,” most likely the UK as he has direct access to former Foreign Minister William Hague, who he has been documented meeting in person on multiple occasions at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. […] it was the British government that first relocated Abdul Rahman to Coventry, England after he fled Syria over a decade ago because of his anti-government activities.” Beau Christensen, Propaganda spin cycle: ‘Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ is funded by US and UK governments

Although the Observatory is manifestly biased, only showing the conflict from the perspective of the insurgents, and consistently showing the Syrian government in a bad light, the information provided is considered by the corporate media, the United Nations and trusted non-government organisations to be authoritative, and is widely quoted.

Clearly for real journalists, Abdulrahman is a useless, utterly compromised source of information who has every reason to twist reality to suit his admittedly politically-motivated agenda of overthrowing the Syrian government. However, for a propagandist, he is a goldmine. That is why despite the overt conflict of interests, the lack of credibility, the obvious disadvantage of being nearly 3,000 miles away from the alleged subject of his “observations,” the Western media still eagerly laps up his constant torrent of disinformation. (Tony Cartalucci, West’s Syrian Narrative Based on “Guy in British Apartment”) (Citation: Barbara McKenzie).

Media consolidation

Integrated within the almost seamless relationship that exists between the executive of government and the kinds of players outlined above, is an increasingly consolidated corporate media who share with the military and political establishments’ mutual economic interests which war helps facilitate. As author Ed Jones points out, it’s the billionaires who own the press that set the agenda:

“Who owns the media shapes what stories are covered and how they are written about”, he said, adding that, “the UK media has a very concentrated ownership structure, with six billionaires owning and/or having a majority of voting shares in most of the national newspapers.”

Why religion can’t be absolved of all responsibility for violence

By Daniel Margrain

Stock photo of surveillance cameras

In light of the recent spate of terror attacks, it’s worth reminding readers to this blog of a speech that former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron made in Birmingham a year ago this month. The speech, which was ostensibly low on substance and high on rhetoric, unveiled what could loosely be termed as a less than coherent strategy to tackle Islamist extremism. Cameron’s nonsense would have almost certainly gone down well with many of his core Friends of Israel Tory MPS, some of whose constituents have left the UK to fight for Israel against the occupied and oppressed Palestinian’s whilst others have gone to fight alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga.

Are we ever likely to have a future UK Prime Minister talking condescendingly to the Jewish community in the Golder’s Green district of North London about strategies to tackle Jewish-Zionist extremism? Moreover, is a future leader likely to debate in leafy Surrey, the Christian-Zionist fundamentalism of Blair and Bush which resulted in the deaths of at least half a million Iraqi’s on the basis of a pack of lies? The questions of course are rhetorical since we know the answer.

Unlike the Tory-voting wealthy middle classes and Friends of Israel, mostly anti-Tory Muslims within a de–industrialized urban landscapes like Birmingham are regarded as political fair game for Tory shenanigans. Ignoring many of the causal factors that drive a small minority of mainly young Muslims to ISIS, such as the Wests endless wars in Muslim lands, Cameron outlined the Tory five-year vision to defeat home-grown extremism. The former PM set out four major areas that needed attention: countering the ‘warped’ extremist ideology, the process of radicalisation, the ‘drowning-out’ of moderate Muslim voices and the ‘identity crisis’ among some British-born Muslims.

The then PM spoke about the need to enforce British values citing “equal rights regardless of race, sex, sexuality or faith” as a core aspect of these values despite the fact that he voted in support of the homophobic Clause 28 as recently as 2003. Cameron then claimed that Islamic extremism can have nothing to do with Western intervention since the invasion of Iraq came after 9/11. He appears to be unaware of a century of imperial intervention before that. In the Tories vision ISIS popped out of thin air. It had nothing to do with a vacuum left as a direct result of US-British intervention in Iraq.

The most hypocritical thing is how the establishment pick and choose their Muslims. A well-worn narrative is that Muslims are incapable of coping with modern values. However, a succession of British Foreign Secretaries – including the latest, the pathological liar, Philip Hammond – are only too happy to be photographed and dined alongside the Saudi royal family who don’t accept any of the values the establishment call British. And when the likes of the current PM, Theresa May, talk about the British values we should accept, she’s not talking about the values her lot used to build an empire on.

In his speech, Cameron went on to conflate what British values were not by referencing forced marriage and female genital mutilation. The implication being that these manifestations of ‘un-Britishness’ are unique to Muslim culture which of course they are not. “No more turning a blind eye on the basis of cultural sensitivities”he said. Fine! I’ll now wait in eager anticipation for a similar speech by Theresa May to the Jewish community in Stamford Hill.

Cameron continued, “I want to work with you to defeat this poison [of Islamist extremism]”he said. Presumably, ‘defeating’ ISIS doesn’t involve the counterproductive action of bombing to smithereens yet more innocent civilians as the justification for mission creep or unconditionally supporting the Sunni authoritarian regimes, the ideology and funding of which helped spawn the likes of Al-Qaida and ISIS in the first place.

The one (unintended) positive that emerged from his speech was when he talked about the differentiation between Islamist extremism on the one hand, and Islam the religion, on the other. As such he brought into focus the wider questions regarding the differing interpretations seemingly inherent to religious doctrine.

Jon Snow of Channel 4 News quoted the Muslim Council of Great Britain saying:

“We need to define tightly and closely what extremism is rather than perpetuate a deep misunderstanding of Islam and rhetoric which invariably facilitates extremists to thrive.”

Do we know what Islamic extremism is exactly? Is there a distinction between Islam and extremism peddled in the name of Islam? Can a distinction be made between the Wahabbi version of Islam in Saudi Arabia and extremism? Surely the former is indistinguishable from the latter?

In order to tackle the problem associated with certain extremist interpretations of Islam, it makes sense to want to tackle the problem at source. But crucially, this was the aspect missing from Cameron’s speech. For if he was to highlight it, he would have been cutting off his nose to spite his face. That’s because Britain has a an extremely cozy relationship with the oppressive totalitarian states’ of the Arab Gulf Peninsula, all of whom without exception, adhere to the extremist theocratic Islamic ideologies.described but nevertheless represent extremely good business for Great Britain PLC.

Is it the duty of Muslims living, in say, Birmingham to defend other Muslims living, in say, Baghdad? Conversely, can the killing of innocent people in Western liberal democracies’ ever be considered justifiable on the basis that theoretically the populations within these nations often elect governments’ who initiate wars of aggression against Muslims in their name? Can violent acts in these circumstances ever be justified? Does this, in the minds of extremists, justify Jihad against Westerners by Muslims irrespective of where either reside in the world?

Some moderate Muslims like Baroness Warsi insist that Jihad is about “self-improvement, self-evaluation, questioning injustice and being prepared to raise your voice when you see injustice.” This contrasts with the more extreme interpretation of Jihad in which external factors like the taking of arms are seen as the precursor to the kind of self-evaluation outlined by Warsi. How can these seemingly irreconcilable differences be reconciled?

One of the main problems that needs to be addressed, but tends to be constantly evaded, relates to the contradictory aspect of religion itself. Christians, Jews and others of all denominations will often claim piety with one hand but adopt the role of arm-chair generals holding a metaphorical grenade with the other. Moreover, irrespective of whether one is a follower of ISIS, or whether one is a part of the vast majority of the wider Muslim community of Sunni or Shia, all groups and sects will self-identify with, and hence, claim they are the true representatives of Islam and all will justify their opposing positions by cherry-picking appropriate verses from their religious book.

These contradictory positions, in turn, are exploited politically by racists and Islamophobes. Islamophobia is not just a human reaction to cultural difference. It has been purposely perpetuated as a result of the politicisation of religion of which the creation of an Islamophobia industry is a reflection. The governments Prevent Strategy and the policies of the Henry Jackson Society are integral to the functioning of this industry. Cage, the London-based advocacy organisation, wrote of the Prevent strategy:

“Prevents causal analysis and theory is fundamentally flawed. According to the strategy, the cause of violence in the Muslim world is rooted in ideology. Whereas in reality the cause is the political struggle of Muslims in response to unrepresentative regimes, often aided by Western policy and occupations.”

This assessment appears to be consistent with the analysis of Stephen Holmes, who in relation to the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, implied that the goal of ISIS and Al Qaida is no different from other national liberation movements – to achieve independence by forcing the imperialist powers to retreat:

“The vast majority of Bin Laden’s public statements provide secular, not religious, rationales for 9/11. The principal purpose of the attack was to punish the ‘unjust and tyrannical America’. The casus belli he invokes over and over again is injustice not impiety. True, he occasionally remarks that the United States has declared war on god, but such statements would carry little conviction if not seconded by claims that the United States is tyrannising and exploiting Muslim people… Bin Laden almost never justified terrorism against the West as a means for subordinating Western unbelievers to the true faith. Instead, he almost always justified terrorism against the West as a form of legitimate self-defence.”

According to Holmes then, whilst political objectives maybe expressed in religious terms, in essence, the goal of ISIS/Al Qaida is the same as previous secular-nationalist movements in the Middle East—the defeat of US imperialism and its allies in the region.

However, as I will outline below, to claim that that all instances of jihadist violence do not have religious rationales is misleading. Nevertheless, the anti-Muslim ideology of the right-wing Henry Jackson Society, alongside the creation of the illiberal Prevent Strategy, meant that the establishment have been quick to exploit the media’s often sensationalist reporting as well as the fear and panic Muslim’s generate for their own narrow political propaganda purposes.

The former, for example, set up Student Rights which produced a report that manufactured panic around gender segregation on campuses. Cameron weighed in. Though strangely he never spoke about gender segregation at Eton. Catherine Heseltine of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK spoke of how growth in the fear of Islam has gone along with policies pushed by governments. She said:

“Immediately after 9/11 only 10 percent of people in Britain saw Islam as a religion as a threat…Since then that figure has just about tripled.”

According to Bob Ferguson, teacher and convener for Newham Stand Up Against Racism, since the passing of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act in February last year, Islamophobia has been taken to a new level. Teaching staff at universities and schools now have a statutory duty to report people who may be vulnerable to “Islamic non-violent extremism”. One clause that is particularly pernicious, requires teachers and lecturers to report discussions on ‘Grievances to which terrorist organisations claim to have a solution’. That one clause wipes out any possibility of discussing imperialism.

Ferguson says :

“There was a minute’s silence for the victims of the beach attack in Tunisia. All the Muslims I know at my school thought those murders were a vile, reactionary crime. Many also regard the slaughter of three boys playing football on the beach in Gaza by Israel as a vile, reactionary crime. Expressing the first sentiment proves you are a good Muslim, but expressing the second could get you seen as an extremist.”

In conclusion, the issues are complex and multifaceted and not one aspect by itself is the reason why some young people join up with groups like ISIS. Although many moderates would deny to their last breath the religious rationale that underpins the violence of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, these groups would make similar claims against them. Whether moderate and peaceful Muslims disagree with their violent counterparts is a moot point since all groups self-identify as Muslims and justify their respective actions as Muslims based on the interpretation of passages contained within the holy book.

In Iraq, religious Sunni/Shia sectarian violence was unleashed following the illegal allied invasion of that country. Saddam had kept a lid on it up until that point. That’s just one example where religion is a major contributory cause of violence. Similarly, Zionist Jews justify continued illegal settlement building predicated on the Biblical imperative, and Bush and Blair were alleged to have got down on their knees in the name of their Christian God prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Some religious followers who interpret their books literally, cherry pick certain violent quotes from them in order to justify to themselves their beliefs, mainly for political purposes. This is true of religious extremists whether they be Salafist Muslims, Zionist Jews or Christian fundamentalists.

 

 

Antisemitism: the myths & the maths

By Daniel Margrain

A great deal has been written about how the Blairite fringe within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) are attempting to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership with a view to his eventual toppling using the specter of antisemitism as a weapon with which to achieve it. Arguably the most comprehensive analyses of the McCarthy-style witch-hunts undertaken so far (which ironically have involved Tony Greenstein, who has been at the forefront of moves to combat genuine cases of antisemitism on the fringes of the Palestine solidarity movement), has been undertaken by the journalist Asa Winstanley. In an excellent piece published by the Electronic Intifada (April 28, 2016), Winstanley outlines the links between right-wing, anti-Corbyn Labour and the pro- Israel lobby within the party. He meticulously shows how this lobby manufactured an ‘antisemitism crisis’, pinpointing the individuals involved, the tactics and dirty tricks used and the connections to powerful individuals whose ties lead to pro-Israel groups both in London and Israel.

Among those the journalist points to are two individuals who instigated the antisemitism row, David Klemperer who opposed Corbyn’s run for the labour leadership (but has since been kicked out of the party), and former Israel lobby intern, Alex Chalmers. Perhaps significantly, Winstanley points to a more influential figure behind the false claims of antisemitism. That figure is former chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Jeremy Newmark, now the chairperson of the Labour party-affiliated, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM is also affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization. According to the UN, the latter pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.

The media uncritically bought Newark’s assertion that antisemitism is rife within Corbyn’s Labour party. But as Winstanley contends, no mainstream journalists “have disclosed Newmark’s long-standing role in the Israel lobby, or his record of lying about anti-Semitism.” Winstanley also shows how media outlets such as the Telegraph, Huffington Post and the Jewish Chronicle have been complicit in the systematic attempt to disorientate Labour party members and supporters by either printing misinformation or reproducing unsubstantiated accusations and smears against individuals all of which have contributed to a false media narrative.

The implication appears to be that antisemitism is not only more prevalent within the Labour party compared with other political parties but is also more prevalent compared to other forms of racism in UK society more widely. Neither claims stand up to scrutiny. There’s no evidence to suggest that such views are any more prevalent in a party which historically has been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns. On the contrary, racism and fascism is more likely to be symptomatic of far-right politics then left-wing politics. Take Zionism as an example. Far-right political parties court the Zionist vote because Zionism is a far-right and racist ideology. More widely, a 2015 survey by Pew found that seven percent of the UK public held ‘unfavourable’ views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavourably.

Interestingly. I recently came across the following blog piece, originally posted last August by Mira Bar-Hillel. Although, Bar-Hillel’s use of the term “Jewish Lobby”  is, I would contend, inappropriate, the piece is nevertheless an extremely lucid, revealing and well-written account of the extent to which the Zionist pro-Israel lobby have managed to inculcate their propaganda within the wider UK political and media discourse, the consequences of which appear to be adversely impacting on the democratic process. Mira Bar-Hillel’s sound and well articulated arguments fit in well with the current ‘antisemitism’ debacle discussed above. This is Mira Bar-Hillel’s post in full:

It has become universally acknowledged that #antisemitism in this country is rising massively to alarming record-breaking levels. Most commentators accept this as a simple fact and some respond by demanding curbs on free speech, including senior MPs and even Ministers.

The myth that British Jews are living in fear of life and limb suits some people, to whom I will refer as the “Jewish Lobby”. I will do this because it is true, and because I have been called an #antisemite so often and so publicly (and that’s just by Danny, Lord Finkelstein of Pinner) that that must be true as well.

But the rise in #antisemitism is a myth and one which needs to be busted. And if it takes a Jewish #antisemite to do it, then so be it, with help from the Metropolitan Police.

When I asked the Met for figures and breakdowns of so-called “hate crime”, they were happy to oblige, adding that nobody asked them for these figures until I did. The results will strike fear into those obsessed with scaring British Jews, but actually show there is little to worry about.

In 2014 the police recorded 358 anti-Semitic offences. This is 177 fewer than claimed by the Community Safety Trust, but then the CST is a well-funded Jewish Lobby which would not exist without #antisemitism, real or made-up. The Met’s figures, by the way, also recorded 1,481 reports of homophobic attacks and 611 of Islamophobic ones (generally accepted to be massively under-reported).

The Met’s breakdown of anti-Semitic crime in London in 2014 – which included the aftermath of the Gaza massacres and the media coverage they got – was as follows: FOUR cases of assault with injury (only ONE GBH); seven cases of Common Assault; 36 cases of Criminal Damage to a Motor Vehicle and 38 of “Harrassment”, which could mean anything. The rest were online

Compare that if you will to 180,000, which is the total for offences in these categories recorded by the Met in 2014. So attacks against Jews made up only one in 500 of the total, while they make up around one in 86 of the population of Metropolitan London. We should all be so lucky.

So why are prominent, educated and articulate Jews behaving as though their future here is suddenly at serious risk? Why does Maureen Lipmann regularly pack her bags, citing #antisemitism in between appearances in the media and radio discussions on the subject – only to unpack again?

And why is Danny Cohen, 40, recently appointed Director of BBC Television at £320,000 a year (poor didums), telling a Jerusalem conference that he “questions the long-term future for Jews in the UK”, adding  “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as in the last 12 months” – which was when he was promoted to his powerful new job?

Possibly because they have chosen to believe the CST’s “statistics” rather than the police. The well-funded CST regards posters saying “Free Palestine” as #antisemitic events. Last August: Graffiti was daubed on a pavement reading ‘Jews kill Palestinian babies’. You may recall that in August the UK media was full of images and reports of Palestinian children and babies being killed by Israel in Gaza (the eventual total being 550).

The graffiti may have an unpleasant reminder, but it was factually correct. And it was certainly not a crime, more a report of a crime. So next time you see the CST figures, have the salt cellar at the ready.

Jews make up 0.5% of the population of this country but run a very effective lobby, which is their right. It is also the right of the other 99.5% to be aware of this fact and what it means in democratic terms. And before you descend upon me from a great height and add “Jew Hater” to #antisemite, I would like to put a few things on the record.

My father left Berlin in 1933 in the face of the real and imminently dangerous #antisemitism of Kristalnacht. My mother followed him in 1936 from Cracow, which fell to the Nazis in 1940. I was born in Palestine – yes, PALESTINE – in 1946, after my father, who volunteered to join the British Army to fight the Germans came home to Jerusalem. Most of their families (and mine) perished in Hitler’s camps and one of my uncles was saved by Oscar Schindler.

I grew up and was educated in Jerusalem, served in the IDF in the mid-60s and lived through the Six Day War. I was then a news reporter on Israel Radio until 1972. I then became aware that the Israeli government – decades before Netanyahu – had no interest in negotiating away occupied territory for peace.

Long before the atrocities of the occupation turned Israelis into what the late Professor Isaiah Liebovich called “JudeoNazis” (long before the baby burning) and their country became, according to Desmond Tutu and countless others, an Apartheid State, I could feel the rot setting in and wanted none of it.

So, in the words of Bob Dylan, “Call me any name you like, I will never deny it –

“But farewell, Angelina, the sky is erupting, I must go where it’s quiet”.